Monday, 19 January 2015

2015 Asian Cup adventure - Day 5 - Fun!

Sydney FC fans in the northern end yesterday, protesting
their Russian owner's management of their franchise.
Attempts to get a translation of the message from David
Warner were unsuccessful. Photo: Gains.
The pre-match festivities were spent drinking beer, in moderation. Once at the ground, my seat turned out to be the best one that I will have for the entire tournament; close enough to be part of the action, yet far back enough to be able to see the chalk on the sideline, and thus berate the Saudi player who paused waiting for the signal for a throw in which never came, and which I even I could see the linesman got spot on. On the issue of officiating, congratulations are due to referee Ben Williams, who managed to turn what seemed like those parts of the crowd ready to enjoy the game as neutrals, into relatively raving lunatic Uzbekistan supporters with some pretty spotty refereeing during the early parts of the second half. No matter, the right result was achieved, with the Uzbeks pulling through. I have to say, this was the most fun match to be at so far for the on field exploits as opposed to fan generated nonsense. Both teams played with an outdated openness of formation and a bygone sense of joie de vivre. Fancy spin moves, flick passes, ambitious through balls, desperate defending - if you wanted pure entertainment over the boredom of modern ultra-scientific football, the Bubbledome was the place to be. Of course it's easy to say that if you're not following a team in the middle of a turgid league campaign, but that's part of the Asian Cup's appeal, is it not? Unless you have a diasporic connection of some sort, or spent five minutes in a transit lounge at an airport located in one of the participating nations, the main thing to hope for is that a) one of the lesser human rights abusing nations does well, or b) that you see some sort of decent spectacle. And on that latter front, I doubt any one of the 10,000 people at the game would have gone home disappointed.

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